11 Tips for Hiring a Software Developer at a Startup

paulina.PNGBy Paulina Kruszewska

Table of Content

    Updated: 29.09.2022

    Building a team and delivering high-quality IT products wouldn’t be possible without an effective recruitment process and constant contact with potential candidates. Today’s article will share our approach to effective recruitment and present you with 11 Tips for Hiring a Software Developer at a Startup.

    Recruitment process

    How to prepare a Job offer?

    When preparing the advertisement's content, make sure that you include a job description that will interest the potential employee, but will also be tailored to your needs. Before you start to hire developers, think about what kind of experience will be valuable for your organization, what technologies are a “must-have” and what can be considered as “nice to have”.

    Regarding the requirements section, it's worth considering any previous experience the candidate may have in working with a startup and defining the task that needs to be completed. A software developer with 2 years of experience might be enough for a simple application; for a complex, comprehensive product — someone with 5 years of experience. Hiring the right people that you can trust and that can take on some of your responsibilities when you're creating a startup is crucial for you to overcome the challenges of software development.

    Conclusion: when hiring developers for your startup start by doing needs research.

    job offer preparation

    Why is the right tech stack important?

    The choice of technology is very important because it improves the implementation of the project. If you have selected a tech stack, that's great, you can keep going. However, if you aren't sure, it's better to use the help of specialists, who will advise you on choosing the best solution for your startup.

    We offer such solutions for software development companies - our tech lead can help you choose the technology free of charge. A well-chosen tech stack will also attract valuable candidates to your company. Start by doing research on python frameworks and then broaden your research until you know everything that you need to know to make the right decision.

    One important thing to remember when hiring developers for your startup is that programmers have different specializations, e.g. Frontend Developer, Fullstack Developer, Backend Developer, Manual Tester, Automation Tester, etc. There are also developers focused on a specific technology, e.g. Python Developer, .NET Developer, SaaS Developer.

    Some programming languages ​​are disappearing, which means that developers don't want to work with them anymore. Statements such as “Frontend Developer for an e-commerce/startup project” might not be enough and won't attract new candidates and it is well known that protracted hiring processes equal unnecessarily increased costs.

    Hiring programmers: Salary

    Transparency is the basis, so salary information is a key thing to put in a job description. It is worth doing some research to check the average wage median for a given position. If you aren't sure or are worried that the salary will be too low or too high, we can help you with that matter.

    We verify the job market around the world on an ongoing basis, we know how to hire developers for your startup in a timely and efficient manner, and we understand the rates perfectly.

    Hiring In-house developer or remote one?

    The decision to work remotely or in-house is not only important for developers. The possibility of creating a remote team or hiring an outsourced development team allows you to hire developers from all over the world, which an in house team would not allow.

    So, it is advisable to check out which countries are home to good technical universities before you start to hire developers for your startup, e.g. Poland is known as one of the leading countries dealing with the development of technology.

    Many of our developers have already worked on projects of various sizes for multinational companies. We have an easy point of reference in their approach to development, thanks to a large number of meetings, conferences, and activities within the local technology communities that help them develop better products. So, whether you need a Python Development Company or devops services company you can be sure that you'll find what you need in Poland. The same thing goes for Java Script Development, React Native agency, and more.

    What can you offer to a startup developer?

    We not only live in the era of work-life balance but also work-life cooperation. Our work is often connected with our life and more and more often we choose companies with a value system similar to ours and benefits that improve the quality of our life.

    Before hiring in house developers for your startup, consider real benefits that you can give to employees and real development opportunities: medical care, sports card, training, knowledge base, industry literature, participation in conferences, English classes with a native speaker, etc. Instead of fruit Thursdays, it's better to give employees a choice and give them, for example, a lunch card or co-funded meals in the office, where the employee can choose what to eat. Instead of another pen with a logo, it's better to provide the employee with a workplace adapted to his needs: a chair, desk, monitors, keyboards, etc.

    During the pandemic, we also took care of remote employees by providing them with furnishings chosen to suit their needs. Therefore, it is worth considering a list of benefits and including them in the advertisements for software developer recruitment.

    Also, do not be afraid to compare your software development company to the competition to find out what you can improve on and what distinguishes you from others — for example, it may be paid days off in the case of a B2B contract.

    Satisfaction vs Benefits

    Hire developers through Job portals

    Advertisements on many job portals are often paid, so it's good to approach them wisely and carefully plan the budget that you can dedicate to hiring developers. You can do some research to check where the most advertisements are for Python Developers, for instance. You can add free ads for hiring software developers, among others, on Facebook Jobs and themed groups, like Indeed, Jooble, etc.

    In the case of paid ads, it is worth paying attention to the number of ad refreshes, promotion on social media, and potential candidate flow. We recommend publications on LinkedIn Jobs (an additional advantage is that LI suggests candidates who meet the requirements from the advertisement) or JustJoin IT (promotion on social media, Facebook groups, refreshing the advertisement 3 times, and an advisor who looks after CV flow and even helps to create the advertisement).

    Job portals

    Direct search needed to hire developers

    Most of the candidates are passive candidates (not actively looking for a job), so there is a need for a direct search. There are some tools that can help you find software developers. You can see the list of the most popular candidate search tools are:

    • LinkedIn Recruiter (purchase of an additional license is needed), many ATS systems also have plugins for LI, such as Link Match (https://linkmatch.net/) which allows you to add and manage candidates from LinkedIn.
    • GitHub (plugin recruit'em is helpful)
    • Facebook
    • Internet forums
    • recommendations from other employees (for this purpose we developed a paid referral system)
    • job fairs and Slack groups (both of which we are very active on)

    There are several search methods, e.g. Boolean Search (here), where you enter keywords to search via x-ray search or Google.

    In addition, our recruiters constantly builds tsher network of contacts and place posts with job offers on her LinkedIn account, which makes it easier for them to build a bond with candidates and send them job offers. This level of care is needed if you want to build a dedicated team.

    Direct search methods

    Select the right tools to find developers

    Recruitment is a constant process and building a database of candidates is crucial. Even if you don't want to hire developers at the moment, you still want to stay in touch with them and build your base and personal brand because it allows you to start the process of hiring software engineers straight away the moment the need for hiring programmers emerges.

    Activity on social media is also important. You can find Profil Software on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram. However, more and more advanced ATS systems are useful for recruitment management. We've had the opportunity to test some of them because a properly selected ATS allows you to effectively manage recruitment. Here are the examples:

    • Lever  — allows you to find developers that are perfect for your startup, build a database of talented developers, and it is also perfectly integrated with LinkedIn (for example, it keeps correspondence history), has a calendly-like calendar, allows CVs to flow directly into the system, has feedback forms that facilitate providing feedback on hiring processes of various sizes, and is integrated with some job portals.
    • Recruitee  — integration with LinkedIn, feedback forms, full-text search in the database (allows you to search by keyword without prior tagging), has a calendar function with the option of arranging meetings, and integrates with APIs and job portals.
    • Traffit — a constantly developed ATS system, integrates with APIs, LinkedIn, job portals, and Facebook Jobs. It has a very editable interface that allows you to adapt it to your needs, is constantly updated, and has highly responsive support. It also has a full-text search and integrates with a calendar.
    • Pipedrive — although it is a sales tool, it can be customized for recruiting developers for your startup. Thanks to the LinkMatch plugin, it can be integrated with LinkedIn, which will facilitate recruitment (from the LinkedIn level, you can add a candidate to the process and mark the status). It is also possible to integrate with an e-mail box.

    Choosing the right tool is very important because it improves the hiring process, especially at the beginning when the recruitment funnel is the widest and the rotation of candidates is the biggest. We also want to take care of every software developer who participates in the process of creating a dedicated team.

    Hiring programmers: Screening

    After you finish the market research and receive the candidate's CV, the next step in the process of hiring developers is screening — a short telephone call made by the recruiter, which allows you to check whether the candidate meets the requirements for the position, possesses the set of soft skills that your company is looking for, and matches the values ​​represented by your software development company.

    Screening usually takes 20–30 minutes and consists of two parts. In the first part, we introduce the company, position and project. The second part is about checking the candidate's experience and motivation for joining your development team.

    This is where so-called ‘recruitment forms', in which we place the most important questions and criteria for the candidate, are useful. The form later helps a manager to evaluate and decide who to invite to the next stage of recruitment.

    recruitment screening process

    Take care of the field regarding the candidate's motivation and soft skills test. Provide a wide field for development. Such information allows you to plan the development path for a potential employee better and understand at the very beginning what is important to him/her. Screening makes recruitment more effective and allows you to choose the best people for the next stage, so it's worth including this step.

    Hiring programmers: Meeting at the office

    Preparation for the meeting consists of several steps:

    1. An email with an invitation, address, directions, estimated time of the meeting, short agenda, etc. Afterwards, arriving at the office, showing the office, offering something to drink, taking the candidate to a previously booked conference room.
    2. Soft part — CEO and manager participate in the meeting. They talk about the company and ask about soft areas, e.g. dealing with criticism, stress, communication skills etc. They check whether the person will fit into the organization.
    3. Technical part with tech lead + live coding
    4. Summary and information on what happens next, when the candidate will get feedback, etc.

    This step is very important because it is usually followed by the employment decision, which is why we place great emphasis on proper preparation. You should also remember that a well-conducted hiring process reduces rotation and thus costs.

    well-conducted recruitment process

    Be a team player

    There are usually a few people involved in the recruitment's success. The basis for us is a recruiter with an appropriate mix of knowledge  on hiring programmers— he/she must know the basics of the technologies we use at the software development company, be up to date with projects, know the team composition, methodology of our work, development plans, etc. It's very important for us because the recruiter is the first line of contact with the candidate, verifies competencies, and has a big influence on the opinion of the company.

    After contacting the recruiter, it is time to meet and talk to the CEO and manager. The tech lead, who is responsible for the technical part and live coding, is also often involved in hiring software engineers.

    The whole process must also be in harmony with the candidate's availability. A useful tool that helps to arrange meetings and telephone calls is calendly (https://calendly.com/), where the candidate can choose a suitable date and time for the meeting, which affects his well-being, but this is a topic for another post. And if you're still unsure of which way to go, you can expand your options by exploring offshore software development services.

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    paulina.PNGPaulina Kruszewska
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      How much do programmers cost to hire?

      Developer hourly rates are: Web front-end: $40-$85 per hour; Web back-end: $50-$160 per hour; Mobile development: $50-$160 per hour; There are factors that impact the cost, i.e you can expect lower hourly rates in Eastern Europe, even lower in Mexico or India, and higher in the US.
    • +

      How many developers does a startup need?

      You don't need a big team to develop your startup's MVP. Sources argue that a team of two to five developers should be enough. You should also consider hiring a tech lead for better management of your project.
    • +

      Is it hard to recruit software engineers?

      It is hard to find and successfully hire engineers because the tech recruitment market has become very competitive. Software developers have many positions to fill. Consider cooperating with a software development company with skilled recruitment specialists on board.
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      Why is recruitment important in software engineering?

      It's not easy to find the right developer for your startup with the technical background, skills and tech expertise that will match the needs of your company. If you hire someone who won't work well within the structures of your company or that will leave quickly after, it will generate costs for your company and put your project at risk.